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L1042527I used to be one of those people who believed that free will determined everything. Whenever I heard someone say “everything happens for a reason,” I’d roll my eyes and secretly judge them for using that as an excuse for shit not working out in their favor. Everything, in my opinion, happened for a reason and the only reason was that of your own personal decisions and hard work – free will.

Yet, I’d say that events in my life at least as far back as the last few years have sorta given me a reason to doubt this belief. And the way my life has radically changed over the last year, I’m forced to alter this philosophy. Somehow, it seems that my life has completely shifted courses almost on its own which is hard to explain.

When I moved here from Japan, I never imagined I’d end up separating from my husband and then seriously apply to Harvard Law School. When I first moved to Boston, I felt unsure about my future although I knew studying art photography was important to me. In many ways, photography over the last few years has given me both joy and a sense of purpose. I’d spent seven years in undergraduate and graduate school studying Economics and Politics without so much as taking a single art class in my entire college education.

Yet sometime around the end of completing my Master’s degree in 2011, I felt increasingly drawn to photography for a number of reasons. I’d always had a creative side to me, but I couldn’t find the right form of expression. So the first time I ever picked up a camera, despite not knowing anything about exposure or composition, it felt natural, like the perfect fit.

After finishing grad school, I felt this sense of incompleteness, as if there was something else out there for me which is why at that point I couldn’t continue on with more grad school. So we moved to Japan and I traveled a lot and became obsessed with learning how to take good pictures.

Yet, when we moved back to the States, something inside of me had changed. I realized that photography alone wasn’t enough for me, but I felt uncertain about what else to do. And I knew this was the case the first time I visited Harvard University and walked past The Kennedy School. I felt something inside of me, a sense of dissatisfaction at the thought of the fact that I’d never get the chance to even apply there, much less go there.

For so long this had been my dream, not to simply get a Ph.D., but to have that kind of influence to help solve social problems. And then at some time around then, I actually asked myself, “if I could do anything in the world, what would it be?” Given all possibilities, attending Harvard Law School was surprisingly the first answer that came to me. I say surprisingly because I never wanted to be a lawyer, but I guess I knew that Harvard Law wasn’t ordinary. Yet, I again ignored this feeling and dismissed it as totally impossible. I mean, Harvard Law is the most competitive and prestigious academic program in the world, so naturally, I simply assumed I didn’t stand a chance.

Also, Daniel’s job was going to take us to Connecticut next and it was absolutely inconceivable that I could even think about not following him there. I’d actually been looking into MFA programs in Connecticut, but I soon realized that I didn’t want to do an MFA. Yet it was at some point last year when everything shifted for me and I had a very sudden realization that actually, for a number of reasons, I have a seriously killer application to Harvard Law School and the only thing preventing me from actually getting in is a solid LSAT score. That sounds rather confident, but I know it to be true.

I was hanging out in The Harvard Coop bookstore (where I spend so much time now ironically) sometime in January when I happened to randomly meet a professor and Harvard Law graduate. We talked for awhile before he told me that he and quote could recommend to me “the best LSAT tutor in the universe for getting into schools like Harvard and Yale.” Talk about being at the right place at the right time. At the time, I was fumbling with my LSAT prep and he reassured me that this test was beatable, but you need someone who knows the test to show you how to approach it efficiently. Simply taking a Kaplan class or studying yourself won’t get you into Harvard. So he gave me his name and I’ve been working with this brilliant tutor every Friday afternoon at The Coop for the last three months.

I’ve come a long way with my test prep, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to take the exam next month or not. But without meeting this guy, there’s pretty much no way in hell I could have learned this test as well as I have so far. So while finishing up art school, I’ve simultaneously spent all my efforts pursuing a direction that couldn’t be any more different but is something even over two years ago was a desire I felt impossible.

Art school though at MassArt has been one of the most enriching education experiences of my entire life. It’s incredible because I’d never heard of MassArt before moving to Boston, yet it’s honestly been the best academic experience I’ve had. I’ve never met so many truly amazing people that I’ve actually made profound friendships with.

But I never would have assumed a year ago that I’d end up separating from the husband and then actively pursue a dream of mine that I always assumed was impossible. Yet, things happen and you can’t always control them from what I’ve learned. Fortunately for me I tend to go with the flow. We’re still friends of course and are on good terms, but for a number of reasons, it’s for the best. But actually, I feel genuinely good.

But it’s amazing what some people say when you find yourself in this kind of situation and it’s these kinds of moments that reveal the nature of how people or friends truly see you or position you. I had a number of friends and family say to me “You’ll be fine, I’m not worried about you. You have a Master’s degree and you’re smart.” Yet I was surprised to find there are people in my life who have seriously said things like “well how are you going to support yourself now? Are you going to be able to take care of yourself?”

I cannot help but feel that had I been a man, far less people would have expressed such “concern” for me and my well-being. This makes no sense to me excuse my rant, but there is a HUGE double standard that exists as females are still positioned as weaker people that need to be taken care of. There comes a point in time when you realize that you alone know yourself better than anyone else and that you should never listen to anyone who thinks they know what’s best for you, especially when you know what you’re feeling. Perhaps what I’ve learned the most over the last few months is the importance of trusting yourself and listening to yourself and your feelings, especially when other people try to convince you otherwise. It’s important to cut away the bullshit and see things as they are and then stand up for what you believe is right.

I felt appalled at those questions and even “caring” concerns. I’m fully capable of earning far more money than any man which is the answer I gave to those who questioned my decision to walk away from a man who had plenty of security. I mean, I’m applying to Harvard Law and I stand a reasonably good chance at getting in. So of course, I will be fine on my own. This is the 21st century!

Ranting aside, I generally refrain from sharing personal details of my life on my blog, as I like to keep a healthy distance between myself and the internet and people in general. But because of such changes taking place, I’ve found it nearly impossible to keep up this website at the moment. It kills me to check my web analytics because I know I haven’t been able to keep up my website. My analytics haven’t tanked too bad (thanks to my Pinterest campaign), but a year ago, my goal was to have well over 100,000 page views a month and let’s just say that’s not the case. I don’t consider it a fail considering everything that’s diverted me.

Although I’ve worked insanely hard on this site, it has taken a backseat, but I fully intend on growing it and exploiting this platform in the future when things calm down for me and when I’m at a place to do so. There’s just something fun about the challenge of creating a high traffic website. But I apologize for anyone’s comment I haven’t answered. I’ve received some insanely lengthy comments recently and I’ve been slow to reply.

But whether or not I get into HLS, this has been an exceptionally interesting, good, and life-changing year for me, beyond comprehension for reasons even my closest friends aren’t even aware of. It’s actually been a very positive year in many respects. For that reason, my priorities have changed and I suddenly find myself feeling like myself two years ago or three years ago when I started this site is not entirely the same person anymore as I’m in a completely different place in life. This makes it also inherently difficult to reconcile, but I promise I won’t abandon my blog because I do enjoy running it.

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2 Comments

  1. June 21, 2017 at 12:05 pm — Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am an attorney who is also a photographer. I spent the last few years learning to capture amazing photos while working in Japan. Now I am back in the States and pondering my next move. Your experience inspires that while we and the world around us change, brighter days lie ahead. Best of luck on your application to HLS.

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